Language learning and people laughing at your efforts ft Cristiano Ronaldo

Attempting to learn a new language can be a hard battle.

In order to really learn a language and be able to converse with a native you have to at some point try to use those words you have been learning out in the real world in an everyday situation.

In this video we see a young  Japanese boy meeting his Idol Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, rather than just interviewing him using the translators, the young boy decided to introduce himself and ask some
questions in Portuguese, the native language of his idol.

I can imagine Japanese to Portuguese isn’t the easiest task to achieve.

The young boy stumbles his way through the portuguese text amid laughter from the adults that find his attempts very funny.

Realising the situation Ronaldo steps in to ask why the audience are laughing at the boy.

‘Why they smile, why? He speaks good Portuguese, very good. They should be happy because he tried very hard, its good.’

Practicing your language

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just sit in your room and master how to speak another language fluently at native pace and with perfect pronunciations.

I guess it’s not impossible. But the reality is that at some point you need to go and try to say these phrases you have been learning with actual native speakers. Once you do this you get instant real life feedback. Maybe they understand you and are really impressed and try to help your further by asking you another question they think you may be able to answer.

Or they might laugh and then correct you so you know how to actually say it.

I remember during my time in South Africa I always kept a piece of paper with me which I used to write down phrases in Afrikaans, the local language most people spoke where I stayed.

Simple things like Good morning (Goeie More) and asking how are you? (ho haan dit?).

The reaction would usually be a smile and maybe some laughter but more in a pleasantly surprised way.

My experience is people are usually pretty grateful that you are trying to embrace yourself in their culture rather than just expecting them to understand yours.

Try not to take reactions personal
Sometimes people laugh *AT* your attempts to speak their language. They probably don’t know you and they don’t mean to be rude, its just a mix of ‘why the hell is he/she trying to learn our language’ and also the strange way you are pronouncing their words.

Laughter can also make things fun. Learning in general doesn’t have to be all serious all of the time. You can make the engagement more fun by making jokes about your efforts and silly words that you said by accident.

Fear of failure and saying something stupid is probably the number one barrier that slows down the progress of learning a new language. Those brave enough to go out there and stumble there way through social interactions get the hang of their language a lot faster.

I do think levelling the playing field can help a lot. Instead of everything being one way. You can also help the other person learn something about your language.

Helping somebody learning your language

Whatever your native language is, there are people out there that would like to be able to speak it. If you ever meet one of these people and they try to converse with their limited vocabulary or ask you for some words the main skill I think you need to have with this person in patience.

For me its a great feeling when you can teach somebody something that they can use. Its even better seeing the satisfaction on their face when they get it right.

So lets try not to laugh at people trying to learn something.

Or at least we can also try to learn something with them and we can all laugh and learn together.

Nathaniel GE

See You In 5


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